This island Earth

Is this a map of another planet? Or perhaps a fictitious map of an imaginary world, the likes of Final Fantasy or Elder Scrolls? Nope. It may take you a few moments to recognise it, but this is Earth.

This particular map was devised by Buckminster Fuller, the architect famous for his geodesic domes, and the man for whom the C60 fullerene molecule was named. Named a Dymaxion map, this map is created by projecting the Surface of Earth onto an icosahedron (a 3-dimensional polyhedron with 20 regular sides) instead of a sphere. That icosahedron is then unfolded, showing Earth’s landmasses from a completely different perspective. There are no national boundaries here, nor are there any politics about who lies in the centre and who is East or West. All you see in Fuller’s Dymaxion map is the interconnectedness of all landmasses on our planet.

Perhaps even better, Fuller’s vision for his creation was that this map has no right way up. He argued that in the Universe “up” and “down” do not exist, rather the only values with any meaning are in towards and out away from a gravitational centre. Fuller quite rightly dismissed our society’s convention of North being upwards as cultural bias.


About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
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4 Responses to This island Earth

  1. Prof. Bleen says:

    The North Pole is still in the middle, though, so the cultural bias is preserved somewhat. The map seems to do a pretty good job of preserving total area; compare Africa to North America.

    • invaderxan says:

      Hmmm… That is true. Though I guess, at least, it’s for geographical reasons in this case.

      And I do like how the landmasses aren’t so distorted in this map. As well as Africa/North America, it’s also one of the only map projections I’ve seen where Greenland doesn’t appear ridiculously huge!

  2. Peter Dawson says:

    And that map methodology really puts lil’ ol’ Nu Ziland at the end of the earth, doesn’t it?

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